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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Great Alligator (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


Tourists on an island getaway find themselves the target of the local's god in the form of a giant alligator.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Many films released in the wake of Jaws to try to imitate its success. Perhaps none of them was as unique as the Italian horror film The Great Alligator, not to be confused with another Jaws imitator simply titled Alligator (1980).

Director Sergio Martino (All the Colors of the Dark) takes the monster reptile horror to a whole new level with a story set on an exotic jungle island where a lavish vacation spot mingles with the ornery natives who do not take kindly to the god they worship being disrespected. The beautiful anthropologist (Barbara Bach, The Spy Who Loved Me) and an arrogant hotelier (Mel Ferrer, Eaten Alive!) butt heads over how to treat the island and its people, but the real carnage begins when one of the tourists, a beautiful model there for a photoshoot, defies the order not to go to the Love Island to “pair off” on a full moon, awakening the giant alligator god.

The Great Alligator is a film of many tropes and stereotypes regarding natives as savages, the scary jungle people caught up in superstition and the like, but it is difficult to deny the creeping sense of doom and dread created by Martino and the beautiful surroundings of Sri Lanka where the film was shot. The finale is an insanely blood-soaked pool of mayhem and bleeding flesh that is a standout in Italian horror.

Purchase The Great Alligator (2-Disc Collector’s Edition) [4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray]

  • The Great Alligator (1979). Still courtesy Severin Films.
  • The Great Alligator (1979). Still courtesy Severin Films.
  • Barbara Bach in The Great Alligator (1979). Still courtesy of Severin Films.
  • The Great Alligator (1979). Still courtesy Severin Films.
  • Barbara Bach in The Great Alligator (1979). Still courtesy of Severin Films.
  • The Great Alligator 4K Ultra HD (Severin Films)
  • The Great Alligator 4K Ultra HD (Severin Films)
  • The Great Alligator (Web Exclusive) 4K Ultra HD (Severin Films)

The Video

The Great Alligator was newly scanned in 4K from the original negative and is presented on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a2.35:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) HDR10 encodement that, like the other recent Severin 4K releases, has HDR10 metadata showing a MaxLL of 1000 nits and MaxFALL of 400 nits. Severin seems to take the tack of presenting their films as naturally and lightly touched as possible, even if some warts remain. This results in a very natural film grain and excellent color reproduction, but there are some slight scratches and dirt that can be seen throughout. There is excellent shadow detail, one of the transfer’s strengths. Just check out Chapter 3 during the boat ride to love island sequence for the gorgeously nuanced detail in the surrounding foliage as well as the gorgeous shades of blue from the HDR10 grading. This is a satisfying release and no doubt the best this film has ever looked on home video. The included Blu-ray is also taken from the new 4K scan and looks incredibly good, with slightly less refined grain and a little bit of a scale back on the colors.

The Audio

The Great Alligator gets both the English and Italian mono mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. It is difficult to say which is the “original” audio since these classic Italian films all tended to be dubbed, whether they filmed originally in Italian, English, or otherwise. The English mix seems to match up more closely with the lip movement for this film and the sound, though not one of the best mono mixes I have heard, is more than acceptable.

The Supplements

We get a plethora of cast and crew interviews plus the beautiful packaging and reversible sleeve, with an additional slipcover if purchased from Severin.

Bonus Features:

  • Trailer (1080p; 00:02:56)

Bonus Features on Blu-ray Only:

  • Down by the River – Interview with Director Sergio Martino (1080p; 00:10:42)
  • Minou – Interview with Actress Silvia Collatina (1080p; 00:16:34)
  • Beware of the Gator – Interview with Camera Operator Claudio Morabito (1080p; 00:16:28)
  • Later Alligator – Interview with Production Designer Antonello Geleng (1080p; 00:16:48)
  • Underwater – Interview with Underwater Camera Operator Gianlorenzo Battaglia (1080p; 00:07:16)
  • 3 Friends and an Alligator – Discussion with Cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando, Production Designer Antonello Geleng, and Special Effects Supervisor Paolo Ricci (1080p; 00:16:32)
  • Paradise House: Christianity and the Natural World in The Great Alligator Video Essay by Lee Gambin, Author of Massacred by Mother Nature (1080p; 00:18:50)
  • Alligator Land – Antonello Geleng Shares Original Production Drawings (1080p; 00:06:12)

The Final Assessment

Blood, gore, angry natives, and giant reptiles – a chaotic splash of Italian jungle horror spruced up and looking better than ever on 4K from Severin who have been bringing many of these cult gems to life again with their 4K releases.

The Great Alligator is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo May 28, 2024 from Severin Films

Purchase The Great Alligator (2-Disc Collector’s Edition) [4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray]

  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Studios & Distributors: Dania Film | Medusa Distribuzione | Severin Films
  • Director: Sergio Martino
  • Written By: Cesare Frugoni | Sergio Martino | Ernesto Gastaldi
  • Run Time: 89 Mins.
  • Street Date: 28 May 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: HDR10
  • HDR10 Metadata:
    • MaxLL: 1000 nits
    • MaxFALL: 400 nits
    • Max. Luminance: 1000 nits
    • Min. Luminance: 0.0001 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Secondary Audio: Italian DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH | English for Italian Audio

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Tourists on an island getaway find themselves the target of the local's god in the form of a giant alligator.The Great Alligator (4K UHD Review)